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CIT In Action  #10

1.   NAMI Announces Scholarship for Consumers and Family Members to Attend Second Annual CIT Conference in Orlando, Florida!

2.   Media Exposes Mental Health Care Needs in Florida Correctional System

3.   NAMI -California’s Mental Health/Criminal Justice Community Collaboration Project

4.   CIT Grows in Maine!

5.   NAMI Groups Across Wisconsin Advocating For CIT

6.    Pima County Implements New Mental Health Services for Jail Inmates

7.   NAMI - Chautauqua County Spotlights CIT!

8.   Useful Links

  1. NAMI Announces Scholarship for Consumers and Family Members to Attend Second Annual CIT Conference in Orlando, Florida!

The NAMI National CIT Technical Assistance Resource Center is pleased to announce the availability of scholarship opportunities for consumers and family members to attend the Second Annual Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Conference. The conference will be held in Orlando, Florida on September 25-27, 2006. This national conference is designed to highlight effective community collaborations that are responding to the needs of those with mental illness including co-occurring substance use disorders. CIT is a community partnership; it is with this in mind that we would like to assist community stakeholders to attend this national convention. The scholarship includes registration fees and hotel costs for a maximum of three nights stay at the Rosen Plaza Hotel. The deadline to apply for this scholarship is close of business July 31, 2006.

To apply for this scholarship, download the Application.

2.   Media Exposes Mental Health Care Needs in Florida Correctional System

The Lakeland Florida Ledger focused on the need for advocacy and policy reform in correctional facilities. The Polk County Jail reports approximately 18% of inmates are prescribed psychotropic medication. The crisis of mental health consumers becoming incarcerated is compounded with correctional facilities not being able to meet the health needs of these inmates. Though inmates are screened for mental illness, and the jail does have a special needs housing unit, the facility is not able to handle the volume of prisoners with mental illness. Mental health budget cuts and the lack of community resources continue to add to the increase of incarceration rates of persons with mental illness. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people with mental illness are detained by the criminal justice system. NAMI Board member, Mr. Risdon Slate, who also serves as Chairman of the Florida Southern College criminology department states, “many of the problems (of people with mental illness) have been dumped on a criminal justice system that is ill equipped to deal with it and, frankly, should not be dealing with it.” The article discusses NAMI’s State Ratings Report showing Florida was given a grade of a C minus on health care for persons with serious mental illness. The Report cites state collected data estimating that 23 percent of county and city inmates have a mental illness.

NAMI–Florida and Partners in Crisis, a statewide collaborative of law enforcement and mental health advocates, are urging legislators to increase budgets for mental health care, housing and employment in order to lower the risk of consumers becoming involved in the criminal justice system. Many inmates in special needs units are awaiting placement into state hospitals. Ms. Michele Saunders, the Executive Director of Florida Partners in Crisis, states in the article that though state law mandates inmates referred for commitment to a state hospital be transferred within 15 days, the actual average waiting period is 8 weeks for men and 9 weeks for women. According to the 11th Judicial Criminal Mental Health Project Jail Diversion Project, the Polk County Jail has become, “by default the largest psychiatric institution in Florida, but, it can not provide the necessary and appropriate treatment that is required for successful rehabilitation and recovery.” However there is prospect of hope. Through the implementation of pre and post booking jail diversion programs, the county can begin to assist persons with mental illness into treatment instead of incarceration. Police crisis intervention teams, such as the one in Polk County and mental health courts, which do not yet exist in the county, can be beneficial in lowering the incarcerate rate for persons with mental illness. To access this article, please visit: The Ledger.

3. NAMI California’s Mental Health/Criminal Justice Community Collaboration Project

Be a part of this groundbreaking collaboration project on June 21, 2006 in Sacramento, California! This two phase project is a true partnership of mental health and criminal justice professionals coming together to benefit consumers, family members, and the community. Phase one of this project is to educate participants about jail diversion and intervention strategies, provide key contact information, and assist in planning local solutions to statewide issues. Phase two consists of local meetings in order to develop a framework for local communities to plan and implement jail diversion programs. The true focus of this collaboration is to address individual community needs and circumstances. The program consists of information about mental health court, Proposition 63 and local funding, CIT, and county focused workshops. For more information on how to participate in this collaboration please contact NAMI - California at (916)567-0163 or

4.  CIT Grows in Maine!

The Kennebec Valley Organization (KVO) includes representatives from religious organizations, union locals and community groups from Gardiner to Skowhegan. The focus of this group is improving the quality of life for citizens living in these communities. The organization has identified mental health issues and employment as two top priorities. A special committee has been formed to address mental health crisis responses in the community. The KVO is currently seeking the commitment of police agencies and other first responders to receive free CIT training being offered by NAMI - Maine. In other counties of Maine which have CIT programs, such as Portland, police have seen decreases in officer injuries, use of force, seclusion, restraint in emergency rooms, and arrests. The chief deputy of the Kennebec County Sherriff’s Department, Mr. Randall Liberty, is committed to the CIT philosophy. Twenty officers, including Mr. Liberty, are CIT certified. Ms. Carol Carothers, the Executive Director of NAMI - Maine said the rate of jail inmates with mental illness and substance abuse issues is higher in Maine than it is nationally. “We’re the first state anywhere in the nation to implement CIT in the jail. CIT really does build relationships and change how communities respond and how communities work together.” (The Morning Sentinel, May 8, 2006, B1&B5).

5. NAMI Groups Across Wisconsin Advocating For CIT

Following a tragic encounter between a consumer and police officer in Madison, advocates for CIT are attempting to build a law enforcement training community. The tragedy shed light on the need for police training about the symptoms of mental illness, the involvement of family members, and the ability of consumers to recover with treatment. As police are many times the first responders to consumers in crisis, they must keep the safety of themselves, the consumer, and the public in the foreground. Ms. Sue Heidrich, a NAMI- Dane County board member explains, “Families of people with mental illness may not be aware that when they call police for help, (the police’s) job is not to help the person with mental illness. Their job is to help the public. It causes a real dilemma for the family.” With the implementation of CIT, police officers can understand the situation of both the consumer and family members and shift their focus on helping the consumer with finding mental health care treatment and diverting them from jail. Where communities have existing CIT programs, many family members request a CIT officer to respond to the call in order to ensure their loved one receives assistance and be treated with respect. CIT programs help all concerned- including the community- by enhancing public safety. Other Wisconsin communities are embracing CIT and assisting surrounding areas build new programs. Ms. Karen Aspenson, the Executive Director of NAMI- Fox Valley is currently advocating for the Memphis Model to be adopted by more police departments. Currently, NAMI - Dane County offers free CIT training to state law enforcement. Ms. Aspenson reports they hold biannual trainings and have currently graduated 25-30 officers in each class. For more information, please visit or

6.  PimaCountyImplements New Mental Health Services for Jail Inmates

Inside the jail located in Pima County Arizona, 25% of the inmates are identified as having a mental illness. Local voters have decided to change the system. Voters have approved new psychiatric facilities to be based in the Kino medical complex. The jail has a new medical provider as well as correctional officer staffing and practices to better assist inmates with mental illness. With these new changes, inmates will no longer be released without a reentry plan and access to services. Inmates will now be evaluated, treated with access to medication, and linked with community health care providers. The jail has contracted with Correctional Medical Services to provide care to inmates in crisis. This partnership adds full time mental health care workers inside the jail. This commitment to inmates with mental illness also includes a psychologist, social worker, psychiatric nurse and psychiatrist available inside the jail at all times. Health care data will be computerized and linked to community providers and only volunteer officers trained in mental illness will supervise ill inmates. (Tucson Citizen, May 30, 2006).

7.  Chautauqua CountySpotlights CIT!

May marked Mental Health Month, and NAMI- Chautauqua County of New York State took this opportunity to showcase CIT. The NAMI chapter invited Lt. Mike Woody of the Akron Police Department in Ohio and Sgt. Eric Weaver of the Rochester Police Department to teach local law enforcement about the benefits of mental health education. Mr. Tony Spachtholz, the Executive Director of NAMI- Chautauqua County, discussed the need for CIT in regards to safety. "The police are often the first responders. Many times, if they are not trained, they can make the matter worse." Sgt. Weaver, who coordinates CIT training in Rochester, and Lt. Woody who is a statewide CIT coordinator spoke to law enforcement about consumer, officer, and public safety though education. Both experts emphasized jail diversion and the linking to community mental health resources. Other participants in this event included members of the legal, judicial, and law enforcement communities. To reach this NAMI affiliate, please call: (716)487-9644

8. Useful Links

The 2nd Annual Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) National Conference:

Learn more about this upcoming conference! Taking place in Orlando Florida in September, 2006- This national conference is designed to highlight effective community collaborations that are responding to the needs of those with mental illnesses including co-occurring substance use disorders.For location, registration, and panel submission information please visit the above website.

The Criminal Justice/Mental Health Information Network:
A powerful new database to help you improve your understanding of criminal justice/mental health collaborations. A useful tool for criminal justice/mental health professionals, policymakers, family members, consumers, and researchers. A platform for peer-peer networking.

The Ohio Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence (CJ/CCoE): 
Established in May 2001 to promote jail diversion alternatives for people with mental illness throughout Ohio.

The Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project: 
A repository of information about all aspects of jail diversion, reentry, and enhanced treatment for offenders with mental illness.

U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance: 

Administers federal mental health courts program, provides resources and information for jail diversion, publications and reports, information about federal funding sources.

The National Gains Center: 

Focused  on expanding access to community based services for adult's diagnosed with co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorders at all points of contact with the justice system.

Police Executive Research Forum (PERF): 
Information about criminal justice and mental health, community policing and other relevant information).

The Reentry Policy Council 

Bipartisan recommendations for successful prisoner reentry practices. This comprehensive report is beneficial as it recommends reentry strategies that reduce the likelihood of recidivism.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 

Administers federal jail diversion grant program, resource information, publications, and other helpful information about criminal justice and mental health.

Connecticut Crisis Intervention Teams 

An excellent resource for Connecticut residents and nonresidents alike. The site offers training information, posts, and articles with information concerning the implementation and sustainability of CIT.

Your Feedback and Information is Needed!

We are also eager to hear from you about news or stories we can include for future issues of CIT in Action. Send your comments or ideas to Bonnie Sultan,